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Husband of drunk, stoned driver and killer of 7 sues New York

On July 26, 2009 Diane Schuler drove her brother’s Ford Windstar the wrong way down the Taconic State Parkway in New York for 1.7 miles while other motorists veered to avoid her, only to have her slam head-on into a Chevrolet Trailblazer – killing herself, the four of the five children in her van and the three adult occupants of the SUV. Now, her husband Daniel is suing the state of New York, claiming that it is entirely the fault of the state and not his drunk, stoned wife.


Toxicology reports performed during Diane Schuler’s autopsy found that she was under the influence of both drugs and alcohol when she went on her joyride the wrong way up the Taconic State Parkway. Schuler had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19% (more than double the legal limit in New York) as well as substantial amounts of THC – the active “ingredient” in marijuana – showing that she had been throwing back quite a few drinks and smoking an excessive amount of dope before deciding to drive her two kids and her brother’s three kids back from a camping trip. Unfortunately, due to her massive level of intoxication, Schuler was apparently unable to notice the “wrong way” and “do not enter” signs as she entered the highway headed the wrong direction. She also managed to drive 1.7 miles into oncoming traffic while other drivers swerved to avoid the drunk and she motored along – still not realizing her error before slamming into the SUV that ended the whole mess. The toxicology report stated that she had smoked marijuana around 15 minutes before killing herself and 7 other people and that there was even undigested alcohol in her stomach. While Daniel Schuler, who works in the Public Security Unit of the Nassau County Police Department, admits that his wife was a drug user “to help cure insomnia”, he contests that she was not high that day.

When the dust from the accident cleared, Schuler left 7 dead bodies in her wake including her 2 year old daughter, her three nieces (ages 5,7 and 8) and the three men traveling the proper direction on the highway in their Trailblazer. The only survivor of the accident was Schuler’s 5 year old son Bryan, who was thrown from their vehicle during the accident. It is a tragedy for those victims of this drunken junky’s careless crime but in a flagrant abuse of the US judicial system, her husband is suing multiple parties in an effort to divert the blame for this accident onto someone else. In the end, the Westchester medical examiner ruled the death of the 4 children and 3 adults a homicide – making Diane Schuler a murderer.

First of all, Daniel Schuler is suing the State of New York, alleging that his daughter’s death was not the fault of his drunken, stoned wife but instead – it was the fault of the state’s "negligence, carelessness and recklessness" by not providing proper signage and upkeep to the highway. Although the signs in place prevent most (sober) drivers from entering the highway driving over a mile and a half into oncoming traffic – Daniel insists that his junky wife made the mistake that killed 7 people because of a lack of proper signs leading up to the highway.

Next, Daniel Schuler is suing his brother in law who let Diane borrow his Ford Windstar to take his kids and hers upstate for a camping trip. It is a bit foggy as to how Diane’s brother was at fault since he wasn’t there but Schuler believes that since the brother owned the minivan that a drunken, stoned Diane Schuler used to kill 7 people – he is also deserving of a lawsuit against him. Maybe he should sue the brother in law for letting him marry his addict sister.

The American public is already in an uproar after Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her little girl but this case against the state of New York is a true abomination of the American justice system. The fact that Schuler is trying to clear his wife’s name after she got drunk and high with 5 kids in the car...only to drive the wrong way down a busy highway which resulted in the death of 8 including herself is a disgusting abuse of our judicial system. As this ridiculous case goes to court, we can only hope that the judge overseeing the case has enough sense not to help Daniel Schuler protect the name of his murderous wife.

Source: USA Today

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Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 2:14PM

In the documentary, the wife of Daniel's brother admitted to him not wanting children and the abuse he is treating Bryan with. He knew who his wife and he were. The father of those 3 girls, the murder's brother, should sue him for knowledge of her practices and try to take that boy away from him. They are worthless and have taken away more lives because of their habit.

Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 3:01PM

I am sorry but IF u watched the documentary you see diane was loved and seemly stable person i have an opinion on it .. WHat she did was without a doubt WRONG but if she didnt drink often and took a sip of the Vodka to helpher pain MAYBE just MAYBE she didnt realize that the amount she was drinking and as fast as she was drinking was affecting her in the way it was that with the drugs as well.. From what i seen in the documentary she was a loving mother , friend and aunt and would have done nothing to put the kids in jeopardy. I really think this was a tragidy that could have been prevented .. She did do something she should not have BUT i for one think there is way more to it than we will ever know. My heart hurts for all the loss here and i think her husband should say he is sorry and than leave it at that. I honestly think she was a good person who made a HUGE mistake and all she could focus was on the pain and trying tomake it stop and in that made a fatal decision...

Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 6:32PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

A huge "mistake'? A mistake would be forgetting to get gas and stalling on the highway. Or not securely locking the hatch and having it fly open during the ride. What this woman did was beyond despicable. She got blind drunk and stoned and proceeded to murder 7 innocent people.

Second - if you saw the HBO documentary, you will note that Diane Schuler drank 10 OUNCES of Vodka and smoked a joint. What kind of a lowlife imbecile does this and gets into a motor vehicle - let alone one carrying her children and nieces? She is a monster.

Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 7:26PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I saw the documentary and from what i saw and heard it was just people, specifically the husband and sister in law, trying to cover up what the made a habit of doing. When asked about the vodka the husband said "i dont know where it came from" then he changed the story to "we took it with us on the trip". That to me says that this was not Diane's first drink and that she knew what she was doing. She was obviously a pot head if she needed weed for sleep, that is an obvious sign of addiction.

Bottom line, in my opinion, i think that she drank and smoked regularly and this time she lost control. I think she was a private person and that is why no one knew the "real" her. She suppressed a lot of what was going on in her life, hence her drinking and smoking and honestly if i had to deal with that asshole of a husband i probably would be drinking and smoking as well. To take your anger out on your child, he just really turns my stomach!!!

To go as low as suing your brother and law after his whole family is GONE because of your careless acts, he is human waste!!!!! to say the least.

Own up to your skeletons asshole and stop pretending that your wife was perfect. She was a mother of two kids smoking WEED any other family could get their kids taken away for this alone!!!!


Anonymous (not verified)    July 29, 2011 - 8:52AM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

You are a moron and a jackass just like Daniel Schuler is! AND you OBVIOUSLY did not WATCH the whole documentary. No one who has a brain would suggest the things you are suggesting. You make me sick. 4 innocent children watched their deaths. Go back to school and learn how to spell.

Nadine (not verified)    August 25, 2011 - 5:15PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I have been sober more than 4 years, now. My selfish behavior and actions hurt so many people. Only by the grace of God, I managed NOT to kill someone. Diane Schuler killed her 3 neices (who loved AND trusted her, her own infant daughter, 3 innocent men who were in the wrong place at the wrong time while she was driving in the WRONG DIRECTION drunk & high, & lastly herself. Beyond angry, & sad, I found it absolutely INEXCUSIBLE for her husband to continue to enable her postmortem. It's disgusting and it's insulting to the families who lost loved ones at the hands of an alcoholic and to alcoholics who continue to struggle with this disease. You can't continue to dismiss the facts. Diane was high, Diane was drunk and Diane made the decision to drive that van with those children! This is a cautionary tale of the destruciveness of addiction left unchecked & hidden. The first step is acceptance.

Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 3:02PM

First of all, your comments about Diane are unnecessary. She obviously had a medical problem to begin with. Calling her a drunk and drug user is way off base considering you have no idea who she was. And I won't even begin to say how stupid the person who commented before me is. If you watched that documentary, then you would be able to see Jay and Daniel's point of view. Obviously, you were watching with blind eyes.

Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 7:33PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jay and Daniel are covering up the fact that they two are probably drunks and pot heads. Abcess that caused a heart attack LOL ok so where did the liquor and THC come from the heart attack too????

Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 3:28PM

I in no way was saying anything bad about her i for one think she didnt realize the effect the alcoholwas having on her i am saying she made a mistake and didnt realixe it was going to make her incoherant ...I do in some way see there point but i dont think it is right for him to sue anyone its a terrible thing that has happened and i think no one is at fault there was a bad decision made that is all .. I believe she was in terrible pain and hence thought a few sips of the alcohol would help but went to far with it and didnt realize it by then it was to late. The damage was done she had no idea what she was doing or where she was ...

ABC (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 4:02PM

I watched the documentary more than once and although the family seems hurt and confused they have a right to be. The level of alcohol in her system was the equivalent to that of a can of soda and the lady who was overseeing the park they just left stated that there was no indication of her being drunk. So during that ride home and somewhere in between McDonalds and the accident a woman who is not known for drinking had over 10 shots of vodka? Also...just because the alcohol was in her system does not mean she was drunk. The ONLY SURVIVOR said that his moms head was hurting and she couldn't see anything and then he flew out the window like superman...I'm not taking sides and I'm not telling anybody else to take sides however be intelligent about the facts that are out there...the smart guy who wrote this article makes a Casey Anthony ref and wants to compare this to that but the facts that are provided don't mean sometimes means that NOT ENOUGH facts are provided and the same goes for this article as well. Just because she had THC and alcohol in her system DOES NOT MEAN SHE WAS DRUNK AND STONED!

Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 9:26PM

In reply to by ABC (not verified)

you're kidding right? you actually said ( okay i am laughing here-sorry) that just because the toxicology report reflected that she had 10 -12 alcoholic drinks in her system and THC ( okay im on the floor laughing again), that DianeSchuler wasn't drunk and stoned. okey dokey then; have a nice day.

Anonymous (not verified)    July 29, 2011 - 6:29PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I agree...if you have THC in your system and enough undigested vodka for 10-12 shots plus a BAL of .19, to say she wasn't drunk and stoned is just plain dumb. Let's be real...the sky is blue, bears do poo in the woods, and this is not an existential discussion, it is the very sad reality of a Mom who killed her kids, her brother's kids, 3 other innocent adults and has a son left alive that will suffer the rest of his life.

Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 4:06PM

Her family needs to come to terms with the fact that she was drunk and high when she crashed. Obviously her husband has been unable to accept the truth thus far. What a tragic story for everyone involved, especially her brother and his wife who lost ALL of their children.

Terri (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 4:11PM

I, too, watched the documentary and find it hard to believe that Diane's actions which killed the children and other motorist, were done purposefully. The image of her that was portrayed in the docu just doesn't fit the bill of a reckless alcoholic and drug abuser who went "joy riding down the Taconic Expressway". I feel bad for and can sympathize with her family with their attempts to "clear her name". Who wants the memory of their loved one to be that of a "drunk and stoned killer"??? None of us would - ESPECIALLY if this wasn't their general behavior. So, we shouldn't cast judgement on Diane. We weren't there, so we (the public) will never know what really happened that fateful day. The only ones who really know what happened are dead, and God. And maybe even Danny knows a little but will not say. I do find it strange that he didn't follow his wife who had 5 kids between the ages of 2-8, to take the kids to get breakfast. I mean, they were both headed to the same destination, right? So, I believe that he may know more than he is revealing...
At any rate, watching the documentary and seeing Danny and Jay hire resource after resource to prove at first that Diane wasn't intoxicated, and then why she might have been was simply heart-wrenching. So, I see these unnecessary lawsuits filed by Danny as just another attempt to find some kind of reason for the accident that does not involve his wife being intoxicated. I pray that they find their peace with this horrific accident because no matter what medical condition they find, or a DO NOT ENTER sign that was partially bloked by a tree limb, or what have you, it will never upstage the fact that Diane's BAC was 0.19%. That cannot be explained away by any means.
In any case, it's just horrific all the way around. So, let's just keep the surviving family members in our prayers that they will find peace. That could be any one of us one either side of this tragedy.

Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 4:13PM

The level of alcohol in her system was over twice the legal limit ..So she was defiantly drunk there is no way around that whether or not she realized that she drank as much as she did is unknown and i am saying she most likely took a drink cause she was in so much pain and had no pain killers.. Or maybe she didnt even realize like they said she even drank it . One will never know but the facts show she was defianlty way over legal limit for alcohol content ...After watching it i felt alot of sympathy for everyone involved .. But it remains that we will never really know what happened ,all i know is from what i have seen and heard it wasnt something she would have done intentially ..I have had an abscess and it is unbeliveable pain i have three children and would have rathered go thru labour than have that pain again.. It also could distract someone and make them do things completely out of character ...

Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 4:15PM

"I honestly think she was a good person who made a HUGE mistake and all she could focus was on the pain and trying tomake it stop and in that made a fatal decision..."

Well said.
I think if someone is interested enough in the case to write an article they should also do their research and watch the documentary. Ignorance comes in all shapes and sizes. No one knows what the families involved are going through and your hurtful comments are not helping. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 4:21PM

I have to say that I am extremely sad for all of the lives this hs affected. It was a terrible thing, no doubt. I will say that I do feel sad for Diane as she seemed to try so hard to please everyone, she neglected herself and now her name that she tried so hard to protect will be mud forever.
He husband is a real piece of work. I watched the documentary and it is obvious since his wife carried his pathetic rump for years and was the bread winner, he is grasping for the money and nothing else. I feel sad his son will be raised by this person and not realize how his father even said he never wanted any kids. I hope that this was not the way Diane thought to get away with her kids since she could not escape any other as per the documantary.
I also found it cold hearted, disturbing and very disrespectful that they put those pictures of Diane on the documentary......really bad they would do that to her...thank God they did not put the kids on there.
I think Jay was coming to realize at the end of the documentary the kind of person Daniel is...if not, she is very dumb as this is the impression I got of her on the doumentary as well. I just ordered the book to see the other side. I feel for everyone involved. You cannot take it back and make it right. It is something that will haunt them all forever.

Ker (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 4:24PM

One thing that does confuse me is Bryan said he supermaned out the window . Yet an eye witness says he was under all the other kids . That is why he didn't see him when he was checking the others.

Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 4:30PM

Whoever wrote this article should be as hated as the girl who recorded that Asian hate video at UCLA. Patrick Rall, you are not cut out to cover news or newsworthy events. You include your personal opinions to a level which I've never seen before. You are mean spirited, and I hope you never post anything on the internet again.


A Good Person

outraged (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 4:48PM

How wonderfully understanding all these people are of the murderess and her enabler husband. Wake up!! Even if you believe the most benign scenario of Diane's behavior how can you rationalize Daniel's behavior in heaping abuse on his former brother-in-law by forcing him to spend money to defend this ridiculous suit. Moreover, I don't want my tax dollars spent on defending the part of the suit aimed against NYS. I bet every one of you defending the murderess would be singing a different tune if it were your 3 children she killed. Shame on you all. You are the kind of cretins who feel sorry for the Menendez brothers because they are orphans.

ABC (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 6:32PM

In reply to by outraged (not verified)

I guess you’re right...he must have "enabled" her to "murder" that many people including her own 2 year old daughter. Then again I guess you’re more upset about your tax dollars as opposed to what actually happened.

Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 4:48PM

Sounds like a selfish Mr. Schuler who left his wife with 5 kids to take care of.....marrying the bread winner, with enabling parents, who didn't know if his wife ever went to a doctor!?!?!?! Really, how convenient for Daniel.................I don't feel for him. He had a responsbility too.

Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 4:55PM

I feel extremely bad for all the families involved in this .. And i also said i think Daniel should just let it go i know he wants to know what happened but its obviously not something he is going to find out and he is going to far with sueing the family and the ny . I for one would be focusing on living my life and trying to make bryan have as normal life as he can.. Also did anyone else catch on in the documentary that they said bryan said he supermanned out the window yet one of the genteman who went to help said he didnt see him cause he was under the other kids ...

Anonymous (not verified)    July 28, 2011 - 8:26PM

this guy really seemed to have no idea what was going on with his wife. someone even made a point of saying that daniel & his wife worked opposite schedules. seemed like there was no real communication between them and he wouldnt even have realized if she had a drinking problem or how much weed she actually smoked. however it happened, though, she did consume 10 oz of vodka and smoke a joint before/while driving with all those kids in the car and daniel suing the brother in-law after his 3 girls were killed in the accident definitely secures him a special place in hell